Most know Nashville as Music City, but its artistic streak expands far beyond its thriving music scene. Nashville Design Week began to highlight and celebrate the artistry in Nashville, from architecture to graphic design and landscape to fashion. The 5th Annual Nashville Design Week kicks off on Monday, October 31 and runs through November 4th. We talked to Emmanuel LeGrair, the Co-Director of Programming, to learn what we have to look forward to this year.
Good Grit: When did you start working with Nashville Design Week?
Emmanuel LeGrair: I started working with NDW in 2020. I was a content curator—a volunteer that helped to create our calendar by scoring programming content that was submitted.
GG: How has Nashville benefited from NDW?
EL: It raises awareness about the creative and design industries in Nashville. It puts us on other people's radars when it comes to interiors, fashion, graphic design—all these things that don't resonate immediately when people think of Nashville. It also fosters collaboration in the creative community—we try to promote and highlight what people do well and push people to work with their community and neighbors. This is our 5th year as NDW, and we are really excited to showcase that and highlight where we come from and where we will be in the next five years. It’s very exciting to come from starting something fresh and to be at a point where we’ve grown as much as we have—it's a great feat and something the design week community should be proud of.
GG: What is the theme for NDW’s 5th year?
EL: One thing I was excited about this year as a director was being able to curate the calendar in such a way that was conducive to the community we have here. What’s new is the theme—embodied both present and future. We wanted to come out of discussion about the pandemic and promote things that were positive in nature. What are you working on now, what do you want to share, what would people find valuable? It embodies the future—what should we be looking at in the next 5-10 years, and what will be big in Nashville?
GG: What was your goal as a Co-Director of Programming this year?
EL: I wanted to bring programming that was valuable and beneficial. I love fun programs, but I also wanted to make an effort to bring programming that gives people actionable tools they can apply to their business, job, or personal life.
GG: What is some of the programming you’re excited about this year?
EL: Future Forecasting: Staying Ahead of the Curve and Landing Projects Before They Hit the Ground - How many times have we had ideas and we don't do them, then two years later someone else does it? This workshop is about getting ahead of the curve—how to push yourself to push yourself into action.
Digital Architecture: SIM City or the Next Frontier? - This event is about the metaverse and digital architecture. I am what they call a geriatric millennial, so the idea of purchasing things in the metaverse is outside the norm of the way I'm thinking right now. This program rolls together a lot of conversations.
GG: Why should someone attend NDW if they don’t work in a creative sphere?
EL: My full time job is not in the design sphere—I’m not an architect or a designer. Anyone who finds creativity in design to be engaging, anyone who wants to get involved in any way—its not just for people who are in those full time jobs. There’s multiple and plentiful opportunities to involve yourself in any way you want to from volunteering to attending panels.
GG: What else do people need to know about NDW?
EL: Every year we have an opening and closing party. Opening this year will be at Nightscape in The Gulch. We have a bonus aspect—it is on Halloween this year. The night is presented by Nashville Interiors—we’ve been lucky to have them on board the last couple years.
The closing party will be at The Forge this year, and it's a makerspace—a place where people can use the studios for projects. It's a really cool space, and we’re pulling in great partners and sponsors to work with.
Check out the full calendar of events at nashvilledesignweek.org/calendar